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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  November 19, 2023 10:00am-11:01am PST

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this is "gps, the global public square." welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i am fareed zakaria coming to you live from new york. ♪ >> today on the program we'll bring you the latest on the is is israel-hamas war. christoph is back from the region and he'll give us what he calls the myths and the reality. is egypt part of the problem or
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part of the solution in it shares a border with israel and gaza. can it help during or after this brutal war? and the leaders of the two most powerful countries in the world met face to face on wednesday for the first time in a year. presidents xi and biden shook hands and met for four hours. what was accomplished? did the iciness of the relationship thaw? i'll talk to australia's former prime minister kevin ruud and the spectators in the eu. but first, here's my take. between the tragic ongoing war in gaza and the biden-xi summit, one crucial global crisis in danger of being forgotten. the war in ukraine and this is a terrible time for it to be slipping from public consciousness because ukraine faces trouble on two fronts. as the country's chief military commanders general has acknowledged a stalemate has developed in the battleground with russia. ukrainian soldiers are fighting
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heroically in places like kherson, despite the drones, this is looking like trench warfare during world war i which ground on the for four more years. the second front that is equally worrying is in the west where support are ukraine is weakening despite president biden's passionate advocacy, his package of aid for ukraine is not likely to pass any time soon. europeans are also losing their deterioration. during what xi believed was a private call, georgia meloni admitted i see there is a lot of fatigue. i have to see the truth from all the sides. one side that is ticking to its guns is russia upon. the russian army has learned from its mistakes in the early month of the war and has built powerful, defensive lines in eastern and southern ukraine. it has laid huge minefields deep
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in fortified trenches and set up large artillery units beheine the trenches. ukrainian soldiers have to get past all three of these barriers to gain an inch of ground. russia's vast complex is churning out weapons from shells to drones. its much larger economy and population are enduring advantages that can only be countered by consistent and high levels of western support. the russian strategy based on my conversations with russian officials and those close to them is to hang tough, refuse any serious negotiations and wait for november 2024. they believe there is at least an even chance that donald trump will be elected president and he will want to end america's entangling alliance with ukraine and cut a deal with putin. whether that is an accurate analysis or not, it does suggest that moscow is unlikely to be willing to negotiate any time
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soon. is there anything that can be done to address these twin challenges? stalemate on the front lines and waning support in western capitals? actually, there is. a policy that can help on both fronts. set up an international and legal process by which russia's 300 billion plus of frozen reserves could be used to aid ukraine's reconstruction which estimates could cause $400 billion over the next ten years. in one swoop that would signal to putin that ukraine will not face a funding crisis, and that even were trump to be elected these funds administered through some international body say in switzerland or belgium would continue to flow to kyiv. there are challenges to this policy. russia's reserves lie in various countries and european allies hold most of it and their governments worried that they don't have the legal authority to divert them.
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lawrence tribe, the d distinguished legal scholar has a deafinitive case as to why it would be illegal and appropriate for using russian reserves for ukraine's reconstruction. former treasury secretary larry summers, former world bank head and former 9/11 commission executive director philip zelico have argued persuasively that it is good policy. the basic argument is that russia has engaged in a massive and systemic violation of international law and norms and that it's appropriate, indeed, necessary for there could be some price to pay for this. to reject this logic and favor one that protections russia's property rights is perverse since russia has engaged in brutal, sustained violations of ukraine's property rights and take in the lives of thousands of civilians, as well. russia's attack on ukraine is a core violation of any con seng of a rules-based international
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order. it strikes me as right and wise to force it to pay a heavy price, but how that policy is pursued matters. in the past, the u.s. has tried to enforce its own conception of international rules and norms unilaterally, often generating huge international opposition. the approach we should take this time is the opposite. this policy should be rooted in international consensus, law and norms. legal opinions like tribes should be presented and international legal organization and process of adjudication and claims should be established and the funds handled through it. russian assets and ukraine's reconstruction should be a building block for international law and norms that helped shore up the world's rules-based order. as zellic and zellico note, if this case sets the precedent that a country that engages in naked aggression might find that its dollar reserves are in
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jeopardy, that is not a bad precedent for a world in disarray. so let's get started. ♪ ♪ earlier today qatar's prime minister offered some hope that the israeli hostages or some of them might be freed soon. doha has been meet ydiating bet israel and hamas and good progress has been made in recent days and the only remaining obstacles were minor and logistical. let's go to cnn's jeremy diamond in tel aviv who has the latest. jeremy, can you give us a sense of what are those minor logistical obstacles that need to be overcome? >> well, it seems at this point a lot of it has to do with the mechanisms that are involved to actually get these hostages released, for israel to abide on its side by the pause in
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fighting, multiple days of fighting in pauses in order for the hostages to get out and in order for humanitarian aid to get in and it appears that multiple parties involved in these talks all seem to be saying that effectively, we are closer than we ever have been to a deal that could see dozens of these hostages freed from the gaza strip and returned to israel. we heard the qatari prime minister as you just mentioned say that there has been good progress and the challenges are logistical. jon finer just last hour telling jake tapper that we are closer than we have been perhaps at any point in these negotiations since weeks ago, and he also -- and we also heard from the israeli ambassador that said he was hopeful, the israeli ambassador to the united states, that he was hopeful that there could be a deal in the coming days, as well. it's important to obviously underscore all of that optimism with what we have witnessed over the last several weeks which is that we have seen at other points that we have come close
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to a potential deal and talks have fallen apart and that is because the talks are extremely fraught, they're extremely complex and they're also want talking to each other. israel and hamas are not talking to each other and they're talking via the qatari government and that adds another layer of difficulty to all of this. >> jeremy, briefly, what is going on meanwhile in gaza? what is the latest on the war, the violence? >> well, the us rail i military still has to answer very important questions about a strike that took place at a united nations school in the gaza strip. dozens of people were killed and we have video showing dozens bodies on ground of this school on both levels of that school. in one room alone, you can see about a dozen bodies covered in dust, tables overturned and desks shattered and a massive hole in the wall. the united nations said it does not know who was responsible for that strike and several arab governments in the region are
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pointing to israel as culprit and israelis are looking into that incident. more than 30 of the premuch you are premature baby in the al shifa helped are expected to be evacuated to egypt and some progress on that front and the humanitarian conditions remain extremely dire and they continue to press ahead with its offensive. fareed? >> jeremy diamond in tel aviv, thank you very much. >> next on "gps" i will talk to nicholas nicholas christoph who will dispel the myths of this conflict.
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let's talk more about the israeli-palestinian conflict with nicholas christoph, columnist for "the new york
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times." he recently visited israel and the west bank and has been writing with nuanced and sophistication on the war, in my opinion. his latest column on the subject is called what we get wrong about israel and gaza. hi, nick. you talk about three myths, and i just want to quickly list them. the first myth is that this is a conflict in which, you know, it is absolutely morally clear all of the right is on one side and all of the wrong on the other and it's a clash between two rights. the second, you say is that the israeli myth that the palestinians issue can be strung along indefinitely and the can kicked down the road indefinitely. i want to get to the third one, though, which is one i've heard so often in recent days, particularly from israeli friends of mine which is that it's too bad that we have to use so much force, but the other side only understands brutal violence. this is something i've heard a lot of people say in israel, we live in a rough neighborhood.
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we just have to show that we've been absolutely brutal and perhaps irrational in our use of violence. why do you think that that's a myth, in other words, why do you think that's wrong? >> so -- i mean, i guess first of all i would just note that there is a certain symmetry that israelis say that about palestinians. palestinians say that about israelis, that we have no peace partner and the only way to get attention to this cause is to blow things up, and i don't think it works. having watched this crisis as you have over the years, what you do see is that violence and hard liners tend to lead to hard liners on the other side. why is netanyahu in power? he took power in part after hamas was engaging in suicide bombings. originally back in the 1990s. it was hamas' takeover of gaza
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that kind of helped destroy the israeli left and the labor party there and so many times in gaza i've talked to children and you asked them what they want to be and they don't want to be a firefighter. they don't want to be a doctor. they want to be shaheed. they want to be martyrs and that's because they've lost family members close to them and they think that we are again in this cycle of violence that simply perpetuates it, and i don't think that's going to advance israeli interests or obviously palestinian interests when half of 1% of the gaza population has already been killed. >> do you -- do you think that -- you talked about how each side, in a sense, you know, reenforces the other. do you think it's as cynical as that each side -- the hardliners on each side almost want each other --?
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you know, there were many reports about how bibi netanyahu said we needham as because it ensures that there will never be a palestinian state because we have divided palestinians. we have two different parties and one of which is a terror group. >> so, fareed, i mean, i think for the most part people, you know, the israeli right and the violent end of the palestinians, for the most part, i think they're doing what they think will, you know, help their own interests, but is there an element of what you say and you know, netanyahu, one way of undermining the palestinian authority is to support hamas? absolutely. and is one element of hamas' attacks is that they can do what the scholar friend of mine calls jujitsu, in other words, have israel overreact and then create
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international sympathy for palestinians, help project this issue on to the international agenda? >> yeah. i think that is an element and one thing that i think both sides have in common including hamas is that they don't greatly care for the lives of palestinian civilians. >> you say in your column that baseded based on your be onner isizations observations that hamas may be willing. what do you mean? >> as far as we understand hamas motives, they wanted to fundamentally change the dine am being with a particularly brutal attack on israel and that that was one aim of just the extraordinary savagery of the attack. so israel in the course of a not terribly precise set of attacks,
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and ferocious set of bombings, i think clearly has elevated the palestinian cause. it has dissipated the initial torrent of sympathy toward israel, and i think it has also put israel on a compressed timeline. it will make it harder to continue the fight against hamas indefinitely. i think there will be enormous pressure on israel to curtail this, and you know, i look around, and i don't -- for now, i don't see obvious signs that hamas' military power has been hugely degraded, but i do see some of these signs that hamas has managed to elevate the -- the palestinian cause, generate sympathy and the focus has also moved off the israeli hostages to one would hope would be the greater attempt to get them
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back. >> very briefly, nick. you were in the west bank and any report there that struck you? >> oh, boy, fareed. it's so sad. i don't think i've ever seen it just so on edge. people have lost hope. they're convinced that again, that israelis only understand violence and there's no peace option down the road that there's no trust and in that context, i think there is some risk of explosion. i wonder whether that might extend to jordan, as well, given its large palestinian population and i just really worry that the next chapter of this is going to be something -- some big crisis in the west bank. >> nick kristof, always a pleasure. i want to mention nick's efforts every year that he identifies
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the best non-profits during the holiday season. go to and on the new york times as well. an important neighbor in this confli conflict, egypt, when we come back.
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there's currently only one viable way out of gaza, the rafah border crossing controlled by egypt. it opens on to the sinai peninsula for the first three weeks of israel's siege, israel's government kept the crossing closed and now it is intermittently opened to let a trickle of aid into gaza and a few foreigners and injured palestinians out into egypt, that despite the fact that the egyptian public has rallied in large numbers in support of the palestinian governments in gaza. what motivating the egyptian government's decisions and what
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role might the nation play once the war is over? joining me now is the professor of democracy and governance at harvard. so help us understand egypt's basic orientation because generally speak, people have tended to view egypt as a way in some sense has been part of the containment of hamas. it was enforcing the blockade in various ways over the last 16 years. it doesn't let palestinians in. how has it reacted to this attack, the hamas attack? >> great question. thanks for having me, fareed. it's good to be with you despite the quite catastrophic circumstances. look, the egyptian reaction to what happened on october 7th is very plain. they've been calling since day one for a ceasefire. one of the -- i think problems and nick kristof mentioned this
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in your earlier segment is that we've kind blown past the horrors of october 7th. the egyptians moved past the horrors almost immediately but they felt what was coming down the pike which was a massive retaliation by the netanyahu government in gaza that would yield a humanitarian crisis of incredible proportions and that would put egypt under a great deal of pressure. so egypt from the very beginning has been calling for a ceasefire and they've been calling for restraint. they convened a peace conference in october that didn't yield anything and it was a pretty clear illustration of what egyptian intensions were. they are lang with the qataris, with hamas to get the exchange of the release of some hostages. >> there are some that claim that the egyptians tend to play this public game of is up public support, but privately want israel to destroy hamas. >> if the israelis can invent a
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weapon that would only target hamas members and leave gaza intact, and the people of gaza intact, they would, but they know there isn't such a thing. if you look at their conduct and public statements they've constantly been telling the israelis, be careful. stop. if you look at the statements of the egyptian foreign minister and asisi, they're calling for restraint and call be for it publicly and behind closed doors. >> but sisi, has been tough on hamas and the muslim brotherhood. tens of thousands of the members are jailed and is he doing this because public opinion in egypt is very strongly now pro-palestinian? absolutely public opinion in egypt is pro-palestinian, but the egyptian didn't come from mars.
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the egyptian government emerges from the egyptian people and they feel a great sympathy with gazans and feel that the us rail israeli retaliation with gaza which, fareed, there have been more civilians killed in gaza in the last six weeks than civilian ukrainians have been killed since february 2022. so this is a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. >> why won't the egyptian government let the palestinian government into egypt? >> a couple of reasons. if you read sisi's public statements he has said in part that allowing gazans into egypt will destabilize egypt because suddenly now you'll have million of people -- million of gazans in the sinai peninsula, some untold number of who might be hamas fighters and may use egypt as a staging ground for operations against israel and
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suddenly egypt, which the peace treaty with israel has been part of the solution in the region would once again be drawn into the theater of war and be a part of the problem. so si r sisi is very concerned about that and every egyptian official you talk to has said publicly that they do not want to be party to the displacement of palestinians from gaza because they believe once the palestinians are pushed out the netanyahu government will never let them back in, and so there are fears and i don't know if they're credible or not credible, but they are deeply felt that egypt does not want to be part of what would be termed as a second displacement of palestinians from their lands. >> finally and quickly, post-conflict. there are all these discussions about an arab farce and an arab government and a palestinian
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authority. what do you think happens post-conflict? >> i think that's a difficulty -- i think they seem like pipe dreams. the idea that egypt and israel would come in and govern gaza and the egyptians have a difficult time governing themselves. i think there's also not enough attention paid to again, the cost to egypt of being involved in such a thing. it's what that line that netanyahu, if france needs europe, it catches a cold. if egypt sneezes, the middle east catches cancer. it could be very destabilizing to the country and it's one that should give us real pause. the issue in gaza right now is once hamas has been tame, the issue is establishing governance. i don't know how we do that. i know how we don't do that and that's by getting very beleaguered, weak, impoverished
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countries to do that. >> tareq masoud, thanks. >> xi and biden. kevin rudd tells us what happened.
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the most important bilateral relationship in the world, that is how president xi described the u.s.-china relationship as he sat with president biden this week in california. before the meeting was the first in a year, amid strained relations between the two nations. joining me to discuss the outcome of the summit and what's ahead are the world's leading china's experts, kevin rudd. he served as the prime minister and is now that country's ambassador to the united states. he is also the author of "the
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avoidable war on the dangers of the u.s.-china conflict." kevin, welcome. tell us, it seemed to me that this was very different mood music from what we have been hearing from u.s.-china meetings ever since, really, the start of the biden administration that anchoraged summit, did it strike you that way? and if so, why? >> fareed, it's both different mood music and it's also a different base notes, as well. i think having looked at these meetings now over the last 30 or 40 years of my own career, you get a sense of the rhythms and the changes within each of them, and over the last two years we've gone from near catastrophic engagement and you mentioned anchorage on where we are now which a meeting that if
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you were to summarize it up is about stabilizing the geopolitical relationship and if they can bring it about making it more strategically predictionible. why has china moved in that direction? i think the overwhelming domestic driving force for xi jinping has been a weakening chinese economy. the growth numbers are bad and part of of that is because of geopolitical uncertainty affecting international investors and domestic investors within the chinese economy. there are other factors, too. so from his point of view, bringing the geopolitical campaign down a bit serves as underlying economic interests and for america, i think the biden administration legitimately has sought stability in the u.s.-china relationship because it does not want to take these two great pals to the edge of the catastrophic conflict. >> do you think on the american side part of what's motivating washington in -- because
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washington has also changed. is it some of the concerns or pressure from business -- you can almost hear the sigh of relief coming out of the likes of tim cook and elon musk that things are stabilizing. there's a lot of business to be had and xi made that point in the dinner with u.s. businesses. could that be one of the factors here? >> i don't really think so. i've looked very carefully at what the administration has said and done over the last 12 months on this and essentially, administration policy has not fundamentally changed. it is said you should not coerce economically our allies. it is said we need to achieve progress, and it is said that we need to resume negotiations for climate change and we want a stable, unpredictable relationship. the big change dynamic here in all fairness to the u.s.,
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fareed, has the depth of the chinese economic slowdown has really brought about a fundamental re-look at the dynamics of the relationship and speaking of major american corporates, of course, they'll breathe a sigh of relief and that's normal and natural, but here the proof of the pudding will lie on the eating. that is we can talk about a resumption of dialogue and the pla and the armed forces and this is a good step forward. it will be the substance of three or two sets of new tracks which will either determine whether there is a real change in geopolitical instability in the taiwan strait and how it would be and what borders reacting to around the world, europe and the united states is this underlying fear that we were beginning to move step by step inexorably towards crisis, conflict and war and corporates
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will want to know not just that dialogue has resumed and it will be what is the substance that that is producing across the taiwan straits? >> what did you hear on that front because from what i read xi essentially said this is the reddest of red lines for us, taiwan, and we ask you to not to help taiwanese independence in any way, not to keep arming taiwan and the administration for its part keeps saying we adhere by what the status quo and all of those varyiious communiques and we ask china not to send as many airplanes and not to get as close to taiwan's border that it's getting. did you see anything different here or something that reassuring? >> in the official form lalgzs on the formulations on the chinese side, and i just read the
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readout, no there is no formulation on taiwan or the south china sea. one practical area that we can see progress in if china was serious about doing this would be to cause chinese aircraft to stop crossing median line in the taiwan straits which they now do regularly calling taiwanese fighter jets to skrm bell and so many near-incident that's been frightening. that's been a pattern since the pelosi vs to taiwan, and it would be good. frankly, depending presidential elections in january and for our friends not to recourse to other forms of military and economic coercive pressure across any political, and that will go back to affecting the underlying geopolitical government and not just the scene by government,
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but by the boardrooms of the world which is where xi jinping has his target most. >> kevin rudd, i always learn you when we listen to you. thank you so much. >> good to be with you, fareed in more on "gps," more from the biden-xi summit. what is the view from china? what are they saying when we come back.
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let's keep talking about the biden-xi summit. how was perceived in china and what is the mood in china more generally these days? i am joined by cindy yu, a careful china watcher who is an assistant editor at the spectator and hosts the chinese whispers podcast. welcome, cindy. kevin rudd was saying he thought that the economy and the state of the economy was the principle motivator behind xi's course correction. you were in china recently. do you get the sense that people are anxious about the economy there? >> i think so, very much so. there's been a bit of a long tale of economic recovery that's happening in china with the post-covid bounce where everything comes back because lockdowns were ended this time last year. it's been a long schlep this
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year. when i was in china over the summer no matter who i spoke to whether it was your local text i person or a high-ranking businessman in shanghai, the story was very much the same. don't feel economically secure right now. don't feel confident in the state of the country and so people are being very, very careful about what they're spending money on, about their views for the future if they're making business decisions and they're holding off for now, and so i think basically whether we're seeing is that the last three years of zero covid they go past that quickly. they didn't just disappear. people are a bit traumatized and their bank accounts are certainly not as healthy as they were in 2019. in china, consumer confidence is very much low at the moment and it's manifesting itself in all sorts of >> so the statistics that i've been struck by looking at is if you look at 2019, first six months of 2019, 8.5 million tourists visited china, first
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six months of 2023 it is about a half a million. and so there is a dramatic falloff. and it feels like part of a larger story that was once very integrated into the world, cheese itself off. did you see that? >> during the pandemic in particular there were moment where's it felt like chinese people were suspicious of foreigners. there was one point they thought foreigners was bringing covid into china and we don't want to go out there when covid is not being controlled in the rest of the world. it is easy to forget how quickly that regime has gone. that zero covid regime. less than a year ago, people with this mentality will take a longer to shift. that is the psychological part of it and there is the economic part which is the direct flight. some of those that were canceled during the pandemic hasn't been resumed and that is what was on the agenda for biden and xi this
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week. and it will go back to the early 90s and the 2010s and it depends on geopolitics. i haven't met very many western tourists that want to go to china, because china's reputation is shot from three years of zero covid. so we'll have to wait and see. >> interesting. now when you look at the way china is playing the biden-xi visit, it is back to normal in the sense of good relations, friendly and the american and chinese are great friends none of that old suspicion. and they're marveling that joe biden liked the chinese car that xi was driving. do you think this is a concerted state effort to shift the narrative? >> absolutely. this apec summit has been in the planning for months now. and as kevin rudd said, ever since february, the spy balloon
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incident and both sides have been thinking how do we pull this back. and the americans have been making more overtures, going to china over the summer, but the chinese have been preparing for this. they have been looking forward to this summit. and you see that in state media, theres is a shift, instead of america is doing wrong, how did the chinese and americans collaborate during the second world war. elon musk, a great businessman. we like elon musk. in this particular summit one of the thungs going viral is a photo of xi in san francisco 38 years ago, and this chumminess is going viral on chinese social media. so it is all quite carefully curated but for the chinese people, for public opinion, generalizing about 1.4 billion people, it's not an anti-american deep-seated one.
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it is dampened down by state narratives. so how deeply that kind of anti-americanism is, it is not too deep. but it is important to say that in the chinese portrayal of the event it always front and center. xi saying i don't believe in a second world war and i don't believe in this and that and biden is a supportive actor and that is important to keep in mind. >> it is a communist country with a supreme leader. >> absolutely, yes. >> when you were in china in the summer, were there things that struck you as different in post covid china that surprised you? give us a feel for the place. >> absolutely. i thought there would be way more covid signs. in the u.k., there are legacies from covid, the social distancing posts that remind you of the era. in the places that i went to in china and in beijing and shanghai, all of those were
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gone. so the covid infrastructure, i was shocked by how quickly it left. but what shocked me he even more than that was the amount of surveillance that there is in china. now compared to when the last time i was there in 2019. and i'm not saying this is government surveillance but it is technology behind the cctv cameras, facial recognition, private companies and local governments have taken and run away with. such that you'll be driving down a really long road in a major city in kline and cameras will be flashing at you every now and then. not because you're speeding because they want to know what is in what car. if i go and commit an armed robbery, they would be able to track me down very quickly because of the amount of data created by the nexus of governments. so i thought that was so interesting how prevalent that technology advancement has happened in china as a change happens, it happens very fast. >> and do you feel as though there is a sense of relief that relations with the u.s. are
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better? in other words, what was the underlying for people, for ordinary people? >> definitely, because we talk about the chinese economy slowing, and in the west it is easy to think because the ccp has screwed it up. they have done something wrong. but a lot of people thought it was the americans having their boot on our neck. why are they at us and trying to contain us. so good relations with america has been welcomed on social media at least. it is a big country and it is hard without scientific polling for obvious reasons. >> well, you give us a very good picture, cindy. thanks for being on. thanks to cindy and to all of you for being part of my program. i'i'll see youou next weekek.
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